Gratitude of Resistance Twenty-Three:
Poetry. November always feels a little frantic because I add writing a poem a day to my schedule. I have been doing this for so many years that by now, I would feel lost and bereft if I didn’t do this. It’s part of what holds me to my true purpose. I love teaching, and I feel like I belong in this job with these students and these colleagues at this time in my life. But I have chosen Poet as my identity, and whether or not my poetry ever makes an impression in the world, I would no longer be able to do my other work without it. November and April and summer always bring me back to poetic center.

May we walk in Beauty!

Women Who Are Tied to the Moon (1 of 2)

I usually write a poem a day in November. Today, during a Study Hall when I couldn’t concentrate on grading, I pulled up a couple Rilke poems about autumn and tried my hand at translation. I had forgotten how extremely satisfying it is to translate poems from German. This gives me three poems to post today, so in the interest of blog brevity, I will create a second post tonight in order to post the poems.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” –Roald Dahl, The Witches
“For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap its’ knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows, the joy, the poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff. You have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.” –Anais Nin
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
“On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
I know by autumn’s wizardry
On such a day the world can be
Only a great glad dream for me–
Only a great glad dream for me!”
–Eleanor Myers Jewett, “An Autumn Day”
“Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.”
–Alvin Toffler
“In the morning I went out to pick dandelions and was drawn to the Echinacea patch where I found a honeybee clinging to one of the pink flowers. She seemed in distress, confused and weak. She kept falling off the flower and then catching herself in midair and flying dizzily back. She kept trying to get back to work, to collect her pollen and nectar to take home to the hive to make honey but she was getting weaker and weaker and then she fell into my hand. I knew she would never make it back to her hive. For the next half hour she rested in my palm, her life slowly ebbing away as a thunderstorm started to brew. I sat on the earth waiting for death with her. The lightening flashed over the mountains, a family of turkeys slowly walked the ridge, a wild dog keyed into what was happening circled past us. The trees appeared startlingly vivid and conscious as the wind blew up and the thunder cracked and then her death was finished. She was gone forever. But in her going she taught me to take every moment as my last flower, do what I could and make something sweet of it.” –Layne Redmond
Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
–Thomas Merton
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
–Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein
“Learn to tell the story of the red leaves against water.
Read the alphabet of walnut branches newly bared for winter.
Become literate in the language of cricket and of wren,
of the footsteps of skunk and the changeability of weather.

Interpret the text of the wind in the hollow.
Scan the documents of cloud and constellation.
Enter the tale of rose hip and nettle and sassafras.
Study Wisdom and she will find you.”
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
Audre Lorde
“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of “it feels right to me.” We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.”
by Clyde Watson

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” –Khalil Gibran

Gratitude List:
1. Poetry
2. Poets
3. How dreams seep into waking
4. How waking seeps into dreams
5. Form and freedom

May we walk in Beauty!

My Autumn Visitor

Doorways beckon.

Today’s prompt is to write an imitation poem. I am going to imitate Robert Frost’s “My November Guest.” I will work loosely with the theme, and try to copy the abaab rhyme scheme and the Frostian rhythm.

My November Guest
by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

My Autumn Visitor
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

My Melancholy, visiting
this bitter cold November day,
thinks that the hours of autumn bring
an apt and honest offering
of chilly winds and shades of grey.

Routine demeanor laid aside,
the autumn brings her full awake.
Her silence shed, her arms thrown wide,
she talks about the ebbing tide,
the dismal field, the frozen lake.

Her strength returns as cold winds blow.
She revels in the shorter days,
how the shadows build and grow,
a crippling frost, a blinding snow,
how all will pass, how nothing stays.

She may not be the kindest friend,
but she is winter’s company,
returning every autumn’s end
and my spirit will attend
her joyful, aching misery.

*Wow. There is something really satisfying about imitating Frost. I love to feel the rhythm of it, to catch the almost jazzy (because of the abaab) end rhyme, to feel the sense of the piece fill itself out within the structure.

Gratitude List:
1. Napping, resting, sleeping, dreaming:Is it possible to live a fully creative life when you don’t get quite enough sleep, when you don’t get deeply into dream-life? I love the restful time of a break, so I can find my way deeper in the the realm of dream.
2. Making a little headway on the poetry editing. How did I let myself get this far behind? I do love the editing bit.
3. Daily disciplines. I know that’s such a loaded word, but it also feels right to me–practical rhythms that I strive to be accountable to each day.
4. Pumpkin pie. Of course, right?
5. Layers. Layers of clothes on a chilly day. Layers of color and texture and line in a good work of art. Layers of relationships. Layers of meaning in a poem or a story.

May we walk in Beauty!

Doorway to Winter


Today’s prompt is to write a poem about a month. I will try an acrostic:

by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Now we settle the fields for winter
Once the final harvest is gathered,
Verdant green of summer turning
Ever into autumn’s golden.
Morning sun sprinkles the hillsides
Before the chill of night recedes.
Enter the doorway to winter.
Rest in the womb of the dark.

Gratitude List:
1. A clean house. I didn’t get any grading done today, but my house is clean again, and I feel like I can live in it instead of just existing in it.
2. Water. Clean water. Wild water. River and stream water.
3. November. I still have much to learn from November. This is the third year that I am back to work, and November is no longer the gentle quiet slide into winter. I need to take care to give myself solitude and dreaming time in the coming weeks as we wander into the dark.
4. Many chances to practice. Practice nonattachment. Practice nondefensiveness. Practice nonviolence in word and gesture.
5. This cozy red fleece nightgown-thing that Sandra gave me last year.

May we walk in Beauty!

An Imagined Life

Still playing with Dreamscope:  This time I took yesterday’s creation, and melded it with a selfie.

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about an imagined life.  Today for my class quiet moment, I read Joy Harjo’s Grace. I will let the pacing of that one inspire me–I am unable to break the dogma of shorter line lengths, but I am moved by the sense of the mythical in the mundane in Harjo’s poem.  (Here is a link to a photo of a Patagonian Cavy.)

An Imagined Life
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

In the middle of November in the year of the Patagonian Cavy,
we wandered the fields where Wind called our names, as if
we and Wind were on speaking terms, as if
we had not heard the voice of the wolf
in her growling, in the way she howled over the ridge.

Had we not listened to her wild, insistent portent,
we might have noticed the dirge in her sighing,
heard the omen in her singing,
the augury behind the siren song
that sent us whirling like ravens in her wake.

Perhaps the way would have been less worrisome,
less crowded with grief, had we listened
longer before leaving,
but wiser now we wander,
now that we have learned to sing her songs.

Gratitude List:
1. Setting goals
2. Striving
3. Imagination
4. All four of us playing Legos together
5. Leaves!

May we walk in Beauty!